March, April, May, rains slow, typhoons bedevil other shores, sunshine beats down on the coconut canopy.

The first few days in a new place are like a detective looking for clues. I look for local places, people, events that put a new place in perspective. Is it safe to walk? Are people friendly? Does food taste good? Is it hard to exchange money? What is the best route to get home? Is this a place to be comfortable or vigilant?

Each little jigsaw puzzle piece is collected in a pile on the kitchen table and laboriously assembled into a picture, edge to edge.. By the end of this visit, there will be a completed puzzle and Mogpog will be ready to varnish, frame, and hang on the wall.

This morning details wave at me.

A rooster is tied on his perch waiting for cock fights on the weekend. Clothes hang on a fence in the sun. Rice man spreads freshly cut rice to dry on a tarp in the street. Jeepneys line up and tricycles, power or foot driven, make their way down streets under construction.This could be Nicaragua or Belize, or places in more than half the world. 

Mogpog is a small town on the island of Marinduque in the Philippines.

It is country living here and the jungle, this morning, is noisy, chattering, and all around us. 

It is good to find places in the world you can escape.

This home base will be an easy puzzle to fit into.





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